Why ‘Foreign Aid’ to Israel Benefits the United States
by Yoram Ettinger
The US does not give foreign aid to Israel — the US makes an annual investment in Israel, giving US taxpayers a return of several hundred percent.
While Israel is a grateful recipient of US military systems, it also serves as a battle-tested, cost-effective laboratory for the US defense and aerospace industries (which altogether employ 3.5 million Americans). This enhances US performance on the battlefield and the US economy, national security, and homeland security.
Here are a few examples.
The Israeli Air Force flies the US’ Lockheed-Martin’s F-16 and F-35 combat aircraft, providing both Lockheed-Martin and the US Air Force with invaluable information on operations, maintenance, and repairs, which is then used to manufacture a multitude of upgrades for next-generation aircraft. Just the F-16 itself has been improved by several hundred Israeli-driven upgrades, sparing Lockheed-Martin years of research and developments, which amounts to billions of dollars.
On the security front, the US is also trained by Israeli experts in neutralizing car bombs, suicide bombers, and IEDs, and US combat pilots benefit greatly from joint maneuvers with their highly experienced Israeli counterparts.
According to a former head of US Air Force Intelligence, Gen. George Keegan, the US would have to establish five CIAs to procure the intelligence provided by Israel (the CIA’s annual budget is around $15 billion).
According to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who was chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, the scope of Israeli intelligence shared with the US exceeded that provided by all NATO countries combined. Israeli intelligence helped foil sinister plots against US airliners and airports, and provided vital data on advanced Soviet/Russian military systems.
Israel is a unique force multiplier for the US, helping to extend America’s strategic reach, so it can secure vulnerable pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes and deter wars and terrorism. With Israel’s help, the US can do this without deploying additional troops, which is not the case with countries like Japan and South Korea, or the 100,000 US troops in Europe.
Gen. Alexander Haig, who served as NATO’s Supreme Commander and US Secretary of State, and Adm. Elmo Zumwalt assessed that “Israel is the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require American soldiers on board, cannot be sunk, and is deployed in a most critical region — between Europe, Asia and Africa — sparing the US the need to manufacture, deploy and maintain a few more real aircraft carriers and additional ground divisions, which would cost the US taxpayer some $15 billion annually.”
When it comes to tech, more than 200 top American high-tech companies — such as Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Google, and Facebook — have established R&D centers in Israel. They use Israel’s brainpower to increase production, exports, and employment. They realize that Israel is a critical partner in sustaining their edge over China, Russia, Europe, and Japan in the development and manufacture of tech.
The US-Israel strategic relationship constitutes a classic case of a mutually-beneficial two-way street; one that enhances the economies and defense of both countries and benefits Israeli and American taxpayers alike.
The author is a commentator and former Israeli ambassador.